7 Talent Acquisition Trends to Look Out for 2023

In a new report, Korn Ferry breaks down the topics that will take center stage in the job market in the months ahead, and how employers will meet these challenges, from internal mobility, to contract employment, to boomerang employees, and everything in between.

February 3, 2023 – The last few years have seen unprecedented disruptions in how, when, and even why we work. As we look to 2023, Korn Ferry talent acquisition experts offered their thoughts on what talent acquisition trends will bring to the job market in the coming year.

1. The rise of internal mobility: moving around – but not out.

Thanks to an uncertain job market, professionals are no longer thinking of career growth in traditional terms. Instead, they are ditching the ladder for the lattice, making moves to other areas within their current organization and signaling a growing internal mobility trend, according to the Korn Ferry report. In many cases, companies will use talent analytics and workforce planning to determine which new roles are needed to future-proof the business and which employees might be a good fit for those roles.

“Going forward, employers should boost their internal talent mobility efforts by focusing more on the talent development of their current workforce – offering regular trainings and certification programs to reskill or upskill internal candidates,” the Korn Ferry report said. “Increasingly, companies will use artificial intelligence platforms with predictive analytics to shortlist promising internal candidates, provide tailored career development content, and develop personalized career paths based on goals and interest areas.” Korn Ferry experts say that investing in internal mobility will not only help organizations to attract top talent and develop more diverse pipelines, but also to fill open roles and critical skill gaps amid stalled hiring.

2. Talent acquisition and talent management: from “it’s complicated” to “in a long-term relationship.”

The Korn Ferry report explains that it doesn’t pay to make a great hire if that person doesn’t stick around for very long. “That’s why going forward, talent acquisition and talent management teams should work together more closely, from the start of the hiring process through career development and succession,” Korn Ferry said. “By partnering together, recruiters and talent managers can create a more positive employee lifecycle – better career paths for professionals, which leads to providing the right training and development to move them along their career journey successfully.”

Employers can strengthen the interconnectivity between their teams by investing in cloud-based talent platforms that allow recruiters and talent managers to share, capture and leverage talent data. Korn Ferry says that this will help to deliver a progressive employee experience and enable the internal mobility of the business to grow. “As a result, new hires will feel valued and respected with the knowledge that their employer is invested in their success,” the firm said.

3. Executives and professionals for (short term) hire.

Instead of relying only on full-time employee (FTE) hires, the latest hiring trends show companies are increasingly adopting contract employment – looking to interim executives and professionals to meet scaling workforce needs, according to Korn Ferry research.

“There are several benefits to an interim employee approach: People who choose interim or contract work are often highly skilled, mission-oriented and project-based individuals who assimilate quickly into new environments,” the report said. “They can bring unique skill sets and experiences needed for finite projects, during mergers and acquisitions, or to temporarily fill roles either during a leave of absence or while the company searches for a permanent employee.”

A Look at the 2023 Job Market
News of all the recent lay-offs, many of them in the tech sector, has some people worried about their own job security. Those fears are probably unfounded, at least for now, says a new report from TurningPoint Executive Search. Also, Ken Schmitt, the firm’s founder and CEO, joins Hunt Scanlon Media for a Q&A about the state of the search industry, his new book, and more.

In 2023, Korn Ferry predicts that we will see an increase in people seeking flexible opportunities who are willing to compromise a sense of security from a full-time job. “In turn, talent acquisition professionals will put more focus on nurturing relationships with candidates seeking contract employment and work with clients to determine the most effective scenarios for filling positions,” the firm said. “In such a dynamic landscape, experts recommend companies maintain a 70/30 FTE-to-interim worker mix.”

4. Productivity? Check. Now, what about culture?

The past three years have proven that workers can be just as, if not more, productive working from home. Korn Ferry says that the problem is, how can organizations maintain—or even improve—their culture if everyone is still working at their kitchen table?

In 2023, companies will get the best of both worlds by making hybrid workplaces the norm. Hybrid work models will allow employees to enjoy the freedom of remote work while reaping the benefits of being in the office (think: better access to training and development or impromptu brainstorming sessions).

Related: Retaining Your Employees During the Great Resignation

Korn Ferry says this is not one size fits all: Remote work productivity in the hybrid environment will depend on an organization’s needs, roles and people, and should be based on data, employee sentiment and individual cases. “Some may need teams to meet in person on the same day each week, while others may ask employees to be in the office only a few times a month,” the report said. “But next year, recruiting trends predict that talent acquisition professionals can expect many more companies to offer hybrid work arrangements to attract top talent, with some requiring remote-first candidates to live within a certain radius to visit the office, when needed. And as working models change, experts say companies will continue to maintain highly productive outcomes.”

5. Moving from work-life balance to work-life integration.

The concept of work-life balance has long been a goal for millions of professionals. But according to the Korn Ferry report, the last few years of remote work have made it even more difficult to tune out the daily demands of the job when off the clock. “Many employees have started taking a new approach, foregoing the traditional nine-to-five in favor of a more fluid schedule,” the study said. “In 2023, more candidates will look for companies that promote work-life integration: being able to put in hours when it’s most convenient to take care of personal responsibilities, when needed. Watching the clock will become less important as managers assess success by the output of employees and not the timeframe of their workday.”

6. Bouncing back: boomerang employees inbound.

It sounded like a good idea at the time – when business was booming and nest eggs were growing, many professionals decided to retire early. Others, however, took the big leap to switch jobs—or even professions. “Now, with an uncertain economy and shrinking retirement accounts, many retirees are knocking at their former employer’s door, as are professionals who realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” the search firm said. “This can actually be a bonus for companies as they welcome back former workers – known as boomerang employees – who have institutional knowledge and proven skill-sets.”

Why ‘Boomerang Employees’ Might Be In Your Future
The way companies and their employee’s part ways has completely changed. Although job-hopping is at an all-time high, employers today understand that loyalty doesn’t necessarily go away when employees walk out the door. According to just-released analytics from global outplacement and redeployment firm Mullin International, leveraging talent relationships is now seen as critical to the job search process and to a company’s brand.

In 2023, Korn Ferry predicts that organizations will start to put more effort into the offboarding process, maintaining professional relationships with employees who leave, and making sure those employees know the door is open if they choose to return. “And, by investing in digital workforce performance technology, talent acquisition professionals can keep track of former workers to discover who may have the right skills and experiences to fill high-demand roles,” the firm said.

7. Workforce planning is getting smarter.

If your workforce strategy worked last year, there’s no guarantee the same plans will succeed next year, especially in such a dynamic economy. “Going forward, talent managers will need to be more deliberate in their demand planning, removing silos and collaborating with business leaders across functions to truly understand their needs for the coming year,” said Korn Ferry. “The use of AI and predictive analytics will become more prolific in forecasting to help identify the right roles, skills and geographies to focus on the changing business.”

Recruiting trends predict a slow-down in hiring as employers start to make more calculated decisions that have lasting impact, rather than knee-jerk hires to fill seats. “And if the market does in fact downturn in 2023, companies will need to take a much more measured approach to new recruitment and right-sizing their workforce,” Korn Ferry said. “Talent acquisition professionals should conduct scenario-based workforce strategy plans to prepare for the worst, average, and best-case economic conditions. In each case, it will be critical to focus not only on the downturn, but also on the recovery, so organizations can bounce back quickly and dynamically.”

Related: Hiring Top Talent in Unprecedented Times

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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